A Presidency in Peril
The Inside Story of Obama's Promise, Wall Street's Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future
"In A Presidency in Peril, Robert Kuttner explores how and why Candidate Obama's audacity of hope morphed into President Obama's timidity of governing—from his deferential treatment of Wall Street to his misguided attachment to the fantasy of bipartisanship. But Kuttner goes beyond criticism and offers sharp, practical ideas on how Obama can still redeem the promise of his administration and break the chokehold special interests have on our politics."2010 ForeWord Book of the Year - Silver Winner: Political Science
—Arianna Huffington, cofounder and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post
When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, he had an unprecedented chance to do what no other recent president could: seize the nation’s financial reins from the corporate elite and return them to the American people. Progressives everywhere held out hope that their new leader would take advantage of the economic crisis he stepped into and enact bold policies that would evoke real financial reforms—putting Main Street in front of Wall Street, at last.
But that, writes Robert Kuttner, is not the way things turned out. Instead, America’s best chance for radical financial reform turned into Wall Street’s greatest victory. Obama filled his administration with allies of financial elites who were more interested in business as usual than in transformative change. As a consequence, Main Street remained mired in deep recession. Instead of being the instrument of economic renewal, Obama became the target of economic frustration.
In this hard-hitting, incisive account, Kuttner shares his unique, insider view of how the Obama administration not only missed its moment to turn our economy around—but deepened Wall Street’s risky grip on America’s future. Carefully constructing a one-year history of the problem, the players, and the outcome, Kuttner gives readers an unparalleled account of the president’s first year.
More importantly, Kuttner shows how we could—with swift, decisive action—still enact real reforms, and how Barack Obama could redeem his promise.
This is a book not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand exactly how Wall Street won, and how Main Street can still fight back.